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I have made my way into homebrewing with LME, hops, adjuncts and Dady yeast. Dady yeast (Distillers Active Dry Yeast) is a distillers yeast strain which is supposed to produce a lower final gravity than the gravity produced by other yeasts. Dady yeast is supposed to eat malt sugars, otherwise, How could it be used to make whisky?

I am happy so far with the flavor of my beers, however I wonder if I am missing a much more tasty beer by not using ale yeast. I know I could just try making a batch with a different yeast but, do you think my beer could dramatically improve if I use yeasts made for beer brewing?

  • What was the final gravity of your beers? – chthon Nov 16 '17 at 11:47
  • About 1.010-1.012 – Emilio Nov 16 '17 at 13:23
  • Hm, that's pretty nice. I thought that it would end much lower. Of course, I should also have asked, what where your starting gravities? Also, what is the main reason for using the DADY yeast? Do you have a large quantity of it, or can you get it cheap? – chthon Nov 16 '17 at 15:24
  • Exactly. I bought a bag of DADY yeast on Amazon and it was much bigger than expected. It will last forever :-) On the other hand, ale yeasts are more expensive, I will have to learn how to do yeast washing. – Emilio Nov 16 '17 at 22:59
  • Unfortunately it will not last for ever - but it will last longer if you freeze (or at least refrigerate) it in smaller (one shot) zip lock bags. Left in the packet a room temperature it tends to be non-viable in a few years. Some would be loath to use it for anything after 6 months. It would be worth re-hydrating the yeast before future use and checking it is still active. – barking.pete Nov 17 '17 at 14:24
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Most probably yes, depending on the beer style you want to brew. Yeast, hop bill and wort makeup are perhaps the main parameters to making beer. I am sure some will add temperature and a whole gaggle of other points (e.g. water). But as they say, "the brewer makes the wort and the yeast makes the beer". So the yeast is important - but are its minor variations/varieties/mutations any more important than composition of the wort and other environmental parameters?

"DADY" is a yeast selected to produce alcohol to a maximal degree usually from sugar or glucose wash. The production of fusel oils, esters, acids and similar compounds by the yeast are not considered overly important in such cases because the wash is designed for distillation and fractionation not direct human consumption. Beer (apparently) is not made with those goals in mind and the ale yeasts are usually selected by brewers/biologists to produce low quantities of fusel oils and undesirable compounds. What brewers think is "undesirable" tends to be reflected in the strain of yeast they use.

Having said all that it is often surprising how one yeast can be re-purposed to produce another type of brew. I am sure DADy can be used to brew a very palatable beer in the right conditions. I have used wine yeast for brewing beer and I drank all I made. Not sure how much different it was to (say) using a Safale05 yeast. The beer seemed quite dry and tasty!

  • Yes, dry. That is why I asked about the final gravity of his beers. I suppose that distillers yeasts have a lower apparent attenuation than brewers yeast, but I can't find a confirmation for that. If this would be the case, then most beers brewed with DADY would probably turn-out like saison beers. – chthon Nov 16 '17 at 12:14
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Finally I decided to perform an experiment with different yeasts, including DADY yeast.

I made a wort with 50% amber LME and 50% wheat LME. Centennial hops for bittering and Willamette hops for both flavoring and aroma. Initial gravity 1.050. 12 gallons divided into 3 batches of 4 gallons each.

I sprinkled DADY yeast on one batch, S04 on another batch and US05 on the other one. All three batches fermented well in similar times.

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Final gravity:

DADY: 1.010

S04: 1.012

US05: 1.010

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Color: similar for all beers

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Taste: (Note: I am not an experienced taster whatsoever)

DADY: base beer for comparison (I liked it :-) )

S04: A little tastier than base beer, towards a Belgian beer

US05: Similar to base beer but a little smoother

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However, the difference between these beers was not really dramatic. I mean, you can notice the difference, but all three beers are similar and equally good.

Conclusion: for the kind of beer I make, beer with simple recipes based on LME, it does not seem to make a big difference using one kind of yeast or another. I think I will keep using DADY yeast, for budget reasons.

  • Have you considered blending your yeasts, using part S04 or US05 and your DADY to get closer to a style flavour profile while still minmising your costs? – Mr_road Feb 5 '18 at 11:15
  • I'd rather blend beers after they ferment with different yeasts. I think I could better control the final flavor if I make the blend at this point. This is not an uncommon practice in wine making. I have blended beers that did not come out the way I expected, with aceptable results, even quite different beers. Of course, you need to blend the beers before gasification, so you have to figure out the final flavor of the blend from tasting flat beer. In general, addition of CO2 gives a subtle acidic taste and a creamy sensation from the foam.. – Emilio Feb 5 '18 at 12:22
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"Improve"? That depends. If you change from your DADY yeast, let's call this your house yeast. Your beers will be different and maybe even closer to the style of beer you're brewing. But maybe not better to all palates.

"Different"? Absolutely. Yeast effects beers more than many new homebrewers know. For example you wouldn't be able to make a Belgian beer or a Saison without the proper yeast.

Try it! Your next batch, split your fermentation into two beers. One with your house yeast and one with something new. WhiteLabs (American yeast producer) has a brewery and tasting room. They do flights of 4 beers each, all the same batch just different yeasts. Its amazing how different the beers are.

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DADY can get down to 997 it you use mash temperature that result in fewer branched saccharides, it can produce higher levels of Fusel Alcohols that most beer yeasts. This is not much of an issue for distillers as they are about to purify their product by distillation, but can affect flavour of your beer.

I see in one of your answers you did a comparision yourself between SO4, S05 and DADY.

The temperature profile you ferment with will drastically affect the flavours you get from your yeast. Also with DADY you can often ferment at 23C and have a brew run to completion within 4 days.

Regarding the coment regarding your yeast won't last for ever, it will as you can always repitch on top of and existing yeast cake, or split off 500ml of yeast slurry, and repitch it within a few days.

Many professional brewers repitch multiple times, and this is how house yeast strains are developed. I have repitched many times without any washing or seperating, 99% of the time with no issues, I just create a starter from about 500ml of slurry. But, you do risk carrying over low level contamination which can affect subsequent brews. When this happens just restart with fresh dried yeast.

  • Mmmhhh... All my beers made with DADYeast end at 1.010 or near that point. Would it be related to the fact that I use LME for my beers? Interesting. – Emilio Feb 5 '18 at 12:32
  • Yes, highly likely due to the make up of the LME you are using. If you were to use some candy sugar or corn syrup, or do an allgrain mash with high amounts of other adjuncts then you can get very high attenuation. – Mr_road Feb 5 '18 at 12:34
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If it ain't broke, don't fix it! I had a similar experience to yours. I started brewing w/ very cheap Munton's yeast (was widely available and commonly used at the time). It did the job well. Later on, I tried some of the more expensive yeasts. It was a fun experiment and those yeasts did yield slightly different results, but I went back to the Munton's and like the results just as well.

I now have some DADY myself and may try it for beer too. I think the best method is as you suggested, doing a side by side comparison with all things equal. It's my belief that most people will come to the same conclusion. While various yeasts will change the final result slightly, it may be hard to declare one clearly superior to another.

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Red star Home Brew Stuff 9804 Distillers Yeast (DADY) Ive been using this the last few brews . shorter fermentation time was my concern .It will freak you out when the beer is done in a couple of days rather then a week or so . That was the biggest thing to get over . It has a citrus taste and works quite fast . Ive been using liquid malt(cbw golden light ) and ginger for a summery taste . So its all good 4 to 4.5 alcohol is about right .

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